How does hepatitis testing work?

Viral hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. The infection can cause symptoms like jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain and nausea. Your doctor may recommend that you be tested for hepatitis if you’re experiencing these symptoms. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, however, you may be a good candidate for hepatitis screening. A doctor at Southern Hills Hospital can offer personalized recommendations for you based on your health history and risk factors.

Getting blood drawn
Hepatitis is detected with a blood test. This lab test checks for the presence of antibodies that your body will produce if you’ve been exposed to a hepatitis virus. For most people, getting blood drawn is a routine procedure.

However, some people have trouble handling needles. If you’re nervous about getting blood drawn, tell your provider. He or she can take steps to make it as easy and stress-free as possible for you, such as by:

  • Using a smaller needle
  • Using a skin numbing medication
  • Talking you through the blood draw
  • Reminding you to breathe naturally

Determining if you should get screened
Not everyone needs to get screened for hepatitis. Your doctor will determine if a blood test is a good idea for you, based on your health history, risk factors and lifestyle issues.

Age can also play a role. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all adults born from 1945 through 1965 get tested at least once for hepatitis C . This is true regardless of their individual risk factors.

Additionally, your doctor may recommend a hepatitis screening if any of the following apply to you.

  • Have previous or current injected drug use
  • Have an HIV infection
  • Are pregnant
  • Were born in or have traveled to certain areas of the world
  • Did not receive hepatitis vaccines
  • Are a man who has had sex with other men

Children born to mothers who were diagnosed with hepatitis should also get screened.

Southern Hills Hospital provides comprehensive and specialty medical services with a “patients first” philosophy. No matter what health challenges life brings your way, we’re here to help. Call our state-of-the-art hospital in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023 if you’d like more information about our services.

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